On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I took a walk around town for the sake of fresh air and exploration. In my meanderings I happened to cross a railroad spur where some rolling stock was parked and made a few images.
Spending a cold and cloudy Saturday trying to declutter, I came across a couple of antique photographs I’d nearly forgotten about. Lost in stacks of documents, the two pictures represent points of history, my family’s history (apparently), in Ohio and in Arkansas! On the back of the mounted “Mother Guilford” photo is the handwritten inscription: “this is Mother Guilford’s bro. John + wife at their home in War Eagle. Ark. Benton Co.” I didn’t know I had relatives in Arkansas but it looks like quite a family in this picture, filling the front porch!
The second image, labeled “Big Locust Farm” was taken April 15, 1903, according to a handwritten note. The printed label reads, “Big Locust Farm, Capt. J.J. Waffle, R.F.D., No. 3 / Delta, O. / Phone — Via Wauseon 5 rings on Winameg line.” I don’t know if Capt. Waffle was any relation to me nor do I know if he was the subject of the photo (with two other folks) or the photographer! Capt. Waffle would be a good name for a kids’ sweetened breakfast food.
So far these are the most valuable artifacts I’ve uncovered in my efforts this day. Mostly, I uncovered dust.
I spent a happy, lazy morning watching a thunderhead bloom and disperse from the shores of Lake Erie. I’d seen a very photogenic cloud developing over my area earlier in the day but was not in a position to get a good shot — we’re at a high elevation here but there are obstructions everywhere blocking the view! So after grocery shopping I headed for the lakefront. As I drew closer to the lake, I could see there was an interesting cloud blowing up in the distance. Fortunately, the far away storm developed slowly, allowing me to reach the lake and even change location. I started out in Bay Village, and finished my vigil on the fishing pier in Avon Lake. As the storm began to weaken, it stretched out over the water and even developed a halo! Checking weather radar I learned the storm was all the way across Lake Erie on the southern shores of Canada! A pleasant morning of cloud watching indeed and why not, it’s Saturday, after all!
I thought fall foliage color hit peak a week or so ago but this is an extended season. Even after recent winds and rains there are plenty of colorful leaf-covered trees catching today’s sunshine. It figures, I’m stuck indoors today. I did, however, sneak out long enough to shoot a couple of photos.
We had a lovely time Sunday exploring the little town of Milan, Ohio. Milan’s claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of inventor Thomas A. Edison. The American icon spent the first six years of his life in Milan and maintained a lifelong fondness for the place. We purchased tickets and received an informative and personal guided tour of the residence. She Who Must Be Obeyed carried her camera and shot enough photos of the objects in the house that her collection could serve inventory purposes! I carried my iPod Touch and shot only one space — the light coming in through a tiny, narrow dormer on the second floor. We toured the grounds on our own and then walked around the village square. I shot quite a few scenes of old buildings and the like and it would be worthwhile returning one day to do some more. My favorite shot of the day, however, was of the wall and window of a garden shed. The wall was a velvet red and the contrasting white window frame and mullions showed signs of their age.
The weather was splendid today, if slightly cool for August in Northeastern Ohio. We took a little jaunt down to the Ira Road area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to walk the wetlands boardwalk portion of the Towpath Trail. It wasn’t long before we spotted the first, and boldest, of three Great Blue Herons. This big guy was perfectly happy to stand in the shallow waters of the abandoned canal stalking prey as we watched from the nearby trail. I’ve a wonderful set of shots of the big bird staring, preening, and yawning. This closeup, however, is my favorite and possibly my prettiest shot of a heron yet.
The heron was, however, all about making a living and we as we watched it spotted something between the lily pads and, with lightning speed, struck at its prey full-force. Whatever the would-be lunch was, it got away this time, leaving the heron thrashing in the water, even appearing embarrassed as it flapped up to a log to shake off water and shame.
Within sight of the big bird I thought I saw something much smaller and less familiar but I wasn’t sure. Was it an upturned lily pad or, yes (!), a Green Heron! Typically skittish I fully expected the little thing to rocket skyward as I approached on the trail. Like it’s giant cousin, however, the Green wasn’t shy and went about its business with us watching. It had been about two years since I’d last seen a Green Heron and this was a welcome sight.
It was a great day (and photographically productive) in the soft sunlight and fresh air spent stalking the stalkers!
It was a beautiful Sunday with partly-cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s so we set off to explore a place new to us: Liberty Park, a Summit County MetroPark in Twinsburg. Our favorite area was the Twinsburg Ledges and its woodland trail. The gravel path took us deep into the dark woods amongst tall trees, low ferns, and moss-covered rocks. There were many beautiful sights along the way but a standout was a cave, of sorts.
A short spur trail leads visitors to Glacier Cave which is not so much a cave as a deep opening in a rock wall. Cave or not, the exposed rock face was fascinating: strong striations run across the conglomerate rock, tree-filtered sunlight accentuating the textures. Inside the crevasse and looking up, one can see soft light penetrating the open space, caressing moss-covered, sculpted rock. At the bottom of the shaft was a beautiful opening where light, tinted green by tree leaves, bounced off red rocks, illuminating an already-colorful wall.
We will return, hopefully soon, to Liberty Park. Armed with tripods and plenty of mosquito repellant, we will be better prepared to spend time and make even better images.
While I am not Catholic, I do appreciate the illustrative and evocative art created for the Church and particularly the statuary. Many years ago now, when I worked for a newspaper, I shot a photo feature headlined “Portraits of Mary” showing statuary within a number of area Catholic churches. In the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Lakewood a restoration artist shares that appreciation.
The artist saw a need to not only restore those religious artifacts but to save them. Over the years a good number of churches have closed, their furnishings and decoration either destroyed or scattered to the winds. Artist Lou McClung made it his mission to save and restore those displaced works and created a museum within which to preserve and display them.
We visited the Museum of Divine Statues for the first time this past Sunday. Appropriately, the museum, which opened April 10, 2011, is housed within the former home of St. Hedwig’s Church. The interior of the church has been repaired and re-purposed from that of a place of worship to a fine art / historical gallery. Enthusiastic guides and McClung himself are present to answer questions and tell the stories of the many statues and smaller artifacts.
Here are a few of my photos from our recent visit. I won’t attempt to fully-describe the pieces shown and that’s not my purpose here. Nor will I try and tell the story of the museum and its creator; that is done well on the museum’s Web site. I hope you can see what I see when I gaze at the statues and what I attempted to capture with my camera and that you can appreciate the great skill and love the restorer has bestowed upon the pieces.
She Who Must Be Obeyed bought herself a new camera yesterday, so what better way to spend our Sunday than at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! Near the entrance to the park is the zoo’s expansive African Elephant Crossing enclosure. Despite temperatures in the low-40s, all of the big animals were strolling around in the open air. The cloudy skies made conditions a bit chilly for us visitors but softened the midday light: perfect for portraits of people or pachyderms!
The elephant enclosure is behind post-and-cable containment that, though lacking high-voltage warnings, looks like it came directly from Jurassic Park. There are plenty of vantage points for humans to watch the elephants, and places created for elephants to seek fresh treats secreted within concrete walls made to look like stone outcroppings.
We spent quite some time observing and photographing the elephants. Though we went on to see the Australian Adventure area, the primate-cat-aquatics building, and the African Savanna, I think our first sights and photos of the day — the elephants — were our favorites. By the way, these pictures are mine but She found her new camera to be quite to her liking. Her little Canon PowerShot SX50 produced images with terrific detail, excellent exposure and contrast, and lovely color — all without manipulation. The 1,200mm-equivalent zoom with image stabilization, all packed into a small all-in-one package, made me a little jealous.
Surprise! Instead of a cloudy and cold day, we received a cloudless and mild (~ 30 degrees F) Saturday! It was a fine occasion for a little walk at Akron’s Nature Realm park. The woods were loaded with Black-Capped Chickadees that were being hand-fed by some visitors. I was most fascinated by snow and shadow. What, to my eye, really stood out was a pinwheel of decaying wood capped with lichens and snow — an amazing touch of color in a seeming monochrome landscape.